Post Tagged with: "new media"

Bill Good Interview on the Regulation of Internet Broadcasting

I appeared on the Bill Good Show to discuss the possibility of the CRTC regulating Netflix. To listen to or download the podcast here.

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February 12, 2014 Comments are Disabled News Interviews, Tv / Radio

Undue Intervention: Why the CRTC Got It Wrong on Exclusive Content

The CRTC yesterday issued a ruling involving a Telus complaint over Bell’s exclusive rights over NFL and NHL content for its wireless services and its inability to negotiate similar rights for mobile carriage. The Commission found that Bell gave itself an undue preference contrary to its 2009 new media decision and ordered Bell to take steps to ensure that Telus can access the programming on reasonable terms. While there are dangers of undue preferences in the mobile environment and of unfair behaviour arising from the vertical integration, it is hard to see how this case qualifies.

The CRTC analysis involves a two-step process. First, it considers whether an undertaking has given itself a preference or subjected another person to a disadvantage. If it finds a preference, it moves to a second step to determine whether the preference is undue. Note that the burden of demonstrating that the preference was not undue rests with the undertaking that has granted it.

In this case, the Commission found that Bell granted itself a preference by entering into an exclusive contract for NHL and NFL programming. Note that the NFL programming is not something that Bell produces or otherwise owns. There is also no indication that the Bell’s wireless access to the NFL is linked to similar licenses for its broadcasting properties (Bell says the NFL deal was concluded before its purchase of CTV). If this constitutes a preference, then any exclusive contract will seemingly rise to the level of a preference and the party that enters into it may be faced with the burden of demonstrating that it is not an undue preference (which appears to be precisely what the Commission has in mind).

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December 13, 2011 10 comments News

What a Difference Two Years Can Make: Canadian Broadcasters and Distributors on the Internet

The Globe and Mail is reporting that a coalition of broadcasters, broadcast distributors (cable and satellite companies), and creators groups have written to the CRTC to ask for a public consultation on over-the-top video providers such as Netflix. The letter states:

The Working Group believes indeed, like the Standing Committee, that foreign over-the-top services are becoming a significant presence in the domestic market. It is now public knowledge that a foreign over-the-top service operating in Canada has commissioned new exclusive dramatic content, including for the Canadian market. It is buying exclusive rights with studios in the windows of certain linear Canadian programming services. Therefore, the Working Group submits that the Commission should initiate the public consultation recommended by the Standing Committee.

The fight against Netflix is likely to escalate as broadcasters and broadcast distributors wrap themselves up in the Canadian flag and proclaim the future of Canadian content depends on new regulation of online video providers complete with Canadian content requirements and financial contributions (these are the same broadcasters arguing for decreased Canadian content requirements on their own networks).

The battle has been brewing over the past few months (I wrote about Shaw’s about face on regulation in January) and what is particularly striking is how badly Canadian broadcasters and broadcast distributors understood the future impact of the Internet on their businesses. The prospect of the Internet becoming a substitute for conventional broadcast was not exactly a secret at the new media hearing in 2009. In fact, I wrote about the hearing and the Internet streaming of movies in back-to-back columns just before the hearing started. But consider the comments of Canada’s broadcasters and broadcast distributors then and now. Earlier this month, Shaw told the CRTC:

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April 15, 2011 49 comments News

Transcript of Canadian Heritage Committee Hearing on New Media Posted

The transcript of my recent appearance on new media before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has now been posted.  The discussion focused on a wide range of topics including copyright, Amazon, and the private copying levy.

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April 7, 2010 1 comment News

New Media in Canada: My Appearance Before the Heritage Committee

Earlier today, I appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage as its first witness on a new study on Canada and New Media.  I've posted my opening remarks below, but the 90 minute discussion is much more interesting as it covered a wide range of issues from copyright to the iPod levy to networks to the digitization in Canada.  An audio stream is available now and the transcript should come early next week.

Appearance before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
March 25, 2010

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March 25, 2010 7 comments Committees, News